| 53 min

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In this feature-length documentary, photographer Nance Ackerman describes the havoc prescription painkiller OxyContin wreaked in the already weakened Cape Breton town of Glace Bay. The film guides us through a culture of economic and social depression where we encounter men and women at different stages of dependency. Demystifying the world of the addict while showing us the complex social nexus that led to such despair, Cottonland emphasizes the importance of a collective approach to tackling addiction.

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Cottonland, Nance Ackerman, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

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  • director
    Nance Ackerman
  • collaborating director
    Edward Buchanan
  • producer
    Annette Clarke
  • writer
    Nance Ackerman
  • contributing writer
    Edward Buchanan
  • cinematography
    Alain Dupras
  • editor
    Angela Baker
  • sound
    Aram Kouyoumdjian
    Eva Madden
    Jane Porter
    John Rosborough
    Alex Salter
  • narrator
    Edward Buchanan
  • production supervisor
    Patricia Coughran
  • additional photography
    Edward Buchanan
    Kent Nason
  • consultant
    Monique LeBlanc
  • production stills
    Julé Malet-Veale
  • location manager
    Jan Nathanson
  • original music composer
    Jamie Alexander Alcorn
  • musician
    Nance Ackerman
    Jamie Alexander Alcorn
    David Burton
    Jamie Gatti
  • black and white stills photography
    Nance Ackerman
  • archival research
    Leanne Fitzgerald
    Jan Nathanson
  • post-production supervisor
    Roz Power
  • graphic design
    Roz Power
  • graphic artist
    Melanie Lowe
    Claire Hodge
  • technical coordinator
    Patricia Coughran
  • post-production trainee
    Lillian Loppie
  • sound editor
    John Rosborough
  • online editor
    Doug Woods
  • mixer
    Jean Paul Vialard
  • video mastering
    Power Post
  • transcription services
    Lisa Clarke
    Bonnie Druhan
  • studio clerk
    Stephanie Coolen
    Vanessa Larsen
  • marketing manager
    Amy Stewart Gallant
  • centre administrator
    John William Lutz
  • executive producer
    Kent Martin

  • None

    I really like how this video was done. I know the daily struggles of addictions all too well. I have going on 6 years clean and this really hit me and reminded me of where I came from and how easy it would be to go back to that life. So I just wanted to say thank you. I hope all is going good with everyone in this video

    None, 1 Mar 2022
  • MichaelMcleod

    Nance Ackerman's excellent re-mastering of Kenzie MacNeil's song "the island" at the end of the documentary is somewhat addicting in itself. I had it on my "PVR", and had to listen to it 3 times in a row. Would be nice to hear a full version of it.

    MichaelMcleod, 13 Nov 2015
  • TammyFlores

    I have lived "away" from Cape Breton for about 25 years now. I left because there was "no hope" there. There was nothing for young ones to look forward to. So we moved. The next generation after us had it worse. My brother was a victim to this societal experiment. He passed away December 12th, 2009. Some people may question my use of the term societal experiment, but I can't see any other term for what happened to my home town. To hear Dr. Crawford say things like we were "conned" and he was naive makes me sick to my stomach. That's just a pushers way of mitigating blame. Yes I am bitter and angry that my brother didn't have a chance. We his family loved him and it was doctors like Crawford that took him from us.

    TammyFlores, 18 Jan 2013
  • GinnyB

    Thank you for sharing your stories.

    GinnyB, 23 Apr 2012
  • 3reddots

    There for the grace of god go I I left Glace Bay 20 years ago, I knew, drank, and drugged with people in this film, I am so glad I left. The film didn't touch on the issue of culture, too bad, the culture of Cape Breton allows for and incourages alcohol abuse. Manhood is measured in how much you can drink and how well you can fight. The rest of Canada is easy for us........ but it can be lonely.

    3reddots, 19 Feb 2012
  • Lovemytown

    I live here - all my life -born in 1950 and am so saddened by this film- but know it is a reality- but we often turn a blind eye with rose colored glasses. To those who fought their battle and won - I have great respect for your courage and stength. For those who lost their battle- I feel empathy for their family- and Dr Crawford - you are awesome - keep on believing !!! We live in pardise.

    Lovemytown, 29 Mar 2011
  • miarrem

    My brother has recently undergone a horrible battle with drug addiction - one that has deeply affected his family,his children. This happens to anyone - it is not just poor families. Its awful and its a lifelong struggle. Family support and methodone treatment has given him back a life. We're so thankful to have him back but also recognize that he will confront this his whole life. Drug addiction is so pervasive it's scary.

    miarrem, 30 Aug 2010

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